Grateful Dead Music Forum

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 #138570  by James-T
 Sun Apr 27, 2014 12:49 pm
Vintage versus re-issue. Having some fun A/B'ing some of my gear which is sitting at home these days.

I was surprised with the depth and organic quality of my new to me 73 Vibrolux when it goes head to head with trusted back-up and workhorse amp - my Blues Deluxe.

I think the Vibrolux needs a Courtenay tie dye!



 #138574  by czyfingers
 Sun Apr 27, 2014 6:32 pm
That sounded really good James. I think the Vibrolux has a better over all tone and definitely a more Jerry like tone. Not saying the Deluxe sounded bad by any means, I just liked the over all tone and as you said...depth of the vibrolux. The deluxe has a much bluesier sound to it. Hence it's name I guess. :) I had a Blues junior that I hung on to for years and finally recently ended up trading for a beautiful sounding MIJ hard tail strat. But the reason I finally parted with it was because no matter how you adjusted it, it just sounded like a one trick pony blues amp.
Nice playing too... Liked the Darkstar jam. What method are you using to record the audio? I guess my main questions are: is the rhythm track recorded direct or from a mic'd speaker.....what are you recording it with....what's playing it back while you play the lead? What's recording the final product? It sounds too good to be a camera mic. I have a Jam Man looper that I do similar things with, recording either direct or mic'd, but they never come out sounding like that. Your final recording sounds like its mixed down in a studio...and I only listened to it on my iphone. Anyway, good stuff! You can give us the rundown if you'd like.
 #138579  by James-T
 Sun Apr 27, 2014 7:45 pm
Hey man, thanks for the very kind words.

Pretty good observations. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but according to my owner's manual the BD is based on a Bassman, not a Tweed Beluxe as Fender would have you think based on some of the fender endorsed youtube demo's. It does have more bass. I actually added a bit of analog delay (Boss DM-2) to the BD track just to make it compete with the Vibrolux. The Vibrolux track has no effects as I recall (perhaps some OD near the end).

I'm using a shure 58 (not 57) into a Tascam US-1800 12 channel interface - which I picked up for $200 locally from CL. It actually works perfectly with Garage Band and even in multi-track mode. Really easy setup. I record the rhythm tracks first and play back through a pair of el cheapo studio monitors (really loud! so I can hear them over the amps). I then record live the lead tracks.

I've done multi-track that way as well putting a mic to an amp and going direct into the Tascam from my Fractal Ultra. But to be honest - I'm getting better tone out of the amps with a shure 58 these days than going direct from the AXE FX. I guess I've reached the limit of what digital can do. It took me nine months to get there, but I've now educated myself to believe analog beats digital any day of the week. Its subtle but not so subtle at the same time. I'm at the point where I'm only using the Fractal through the Blues Deluxe's effects loop and no longer direct to a FRFR monitor or even power amp and cab. Those 6L6 tubes just make me play more dynamically and inspire me more.

But the ticket for me to make these recordings is Garage Band and the Tascam, and I use iMovie to edit the video. I have an app called MacTubes I downloaded for free that allows me to capture any video off of youtube and import to iMovie where I can separate out the audio track. That's how I scored the animation in this video.

Back to the Vibrolux, if you go to about 4:50 the reverb really shines. When you really dig in the reverb sounds like a delay effect. You can hear that in Garcia's tone for sure on LiveDead. The SF Vibrolux has hands down the best reverb I've used in a rig. Makes me smile, playing through this amp. Gigged with it two weeks ago. Just sounds so great in a band setting and we've added keys and a second drummer and this is the amp for me for that set-up.

.....oh yah - my camera - as always my trusted iPhone sitting up on a desk or box or chair or something. call it high tech - low tech, but its a great camera.


James :-)